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Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

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Re: Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

Postby amagasakii » 16 Jan 2018 11:14

DSJR wrote:Here's where lack of metallurgy competence comes in. I don't know how the aluminium top platter of the 65B and 25 III was formed, whether milled from solid, simply cast and then machined (probably I suspect) or stamped out (not sure if aluminium can be prepared this way). Certainly, some castings needed to be 'rested' after major machining as they warped and in fact my earlier solid cast Lab 80mk2 platter shows signs of machining a little too soon as some warping before final machining is in evidence as well as further creeping after - had I owned this deck when newish I'd have complained and in fact the mat has varying thickness over its circumference almost deliberately to work some of this off so the stylus sees as flat a record as possible ;) Your 65B might have been a little bit better, but I really don't know. Garrard did take care with the machining of the cast inner bearing hub everything's riveted? to (screwed to on the superior models) but despite the 'SL' suffix and better tonearm, it's still basically a posh Autoslim changer, so some allowances have to be made.

Part of the charm, to me, of this machine, is just what you said: it's just a posh Autoslim, which is how I'm treating it. Was the platter once perfect? Maybe. Maybe someone lovingly machined the aluminium platter, riveted it to the steel sub-platter, and gave it a kiss before it left the assembly line. Or maybe it fell off the roof of the buyer's car on the drive home from a sale, warping it for life. Maybe this was someone's pride and joy, right up until their grandson tripped on the mains cord and knocked it into the floor. Or maybe some worker just banged the platters together from 9-5 and threw them in a box marked "Platters", and I got one of the warped ones. At any rate, this machine is now my responsibility, which is why I'm bothering you and everyone as I try and fix it up as best I can.

DSJR wrote:Again, things got better as the next few years went on and tolerances did seem to get tighter - I don't know how long the 65B was around - it didn't really sell in the UK as the SP25 III did. The belt driven models with cast platters were very good if my 86SB is anything to go by (if only I could get rid of the motor 'drone' through the speakers caused I believe by partly collapsed motor grommets...)

The fact that I found an SL-65B, let alone an SL-anything in this town is amazing. The only SP-25's I've seen are in overpriced disco decks, and nearly every console pull is a BSR C### or derivative thereof.

Once the CEC-built invasion began, it seems like the fun went away. Where's the challenge in rebuilding a Japanese turntable? Put a new belt on it and it works like new. Whee! :wink:
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Re: Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

Postby DSJR » 16 Jan 2018 17:08

I'm not having a go and have an early AT6 as well as a 60mk2 with SL motor retrofitted by me. It's just the platter edge will go up and down a little on these and they won't be as quiet as one of the better ones.

In the UK, all in one sets here from this era usually had better BSR's or Garrard 2025TC's. The good quality Hacker and Dynatron centres had SP25 III and IV I remember (Centurion 500 model) and I have a memory of Van Der Molen units coming with better BSR models.

Having mostly stripped out similar decks including an SP25 III back in the day, the arm will take modern 2g trackers as long as the bearing shafts are free enough (Garrard grease-loaded them) and the friction link (better shaped on these later decks) which pulls and pushes the arm around MUST be free of often sticky grease and possibly lightly lubed with just a smear of oil I think, so as not to hinder free lateral tonearm movement. The trip slider should be ok and again the metal to metal end (with locking screw) should be as free as possible (the other end is an aluminium stud running in a delrin sleeve and as said before the trip pawls rattly on the main cam.
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Re: Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

Postby A70BBen » 17 Jan 2018 04:40

Garrard changed their recommendation on lubricating the slot in the friction link. At first, in the Autoslim and AT6 service manual they recommended grease. In that for the SP25 Mk III, a light wipe of oil is recommended.
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Re: Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

Postby amagasakii » 17 Jan 2018 22:02

DSJR wrote:I'm not having a go and have an early AT6 as well as a 60mk2 with SL motor retrofitted by me. It's just the platter edge will go up and down a little on these and they won't be as quiet as one of the better ones.
Sorry if it came off that I was being defensive, that wasn't my intention! I appreciate everyone's advice so far. I have a bit of a soft spot for neglected old workhorses like this deck, so I want to bring it back to its former glory…within my ability. :wink: My concern about bearing noise and platter wobble is just to determine whether this is something I should fix, or if these machines were a bit hit and miss for tolerances. It sounds like the latter, so I won't make a huge fuss over it!

DSJR wrote:In the UK, all in one sets here from this era usually had better BSR's or Garrard 2025TC's. The good quality Hacker and Dynatron centres had SP25 III and IV I remember (Centurion 500 model) and I have a memory of Van Der Molen units coming with better BSR models.
2025TC's pop up occasionally here, but, save for the odd Magnavox or very rare V-M, it's invariably a low-end BSR with plastic platter and no anti-skating, so I was quite pleased to find this intact Garrard with a good motor and counterbalanced tone arm and so on.

DSJR wrote:Having mostly stripped out similar decks including an SP25 III back in the day, the arm will take modern 2g trackers as long as the bearing shafts are free enough (Garrard grease-loaded them) and the friction link (better shaped on these later decks) which pulls and pushes the arm around MUST be free of often sticky grease and possibly lightly lubed with just a smear of oil I think, so as not to hinder free lateral tonearm movement. The trip slider should be ok and again the metal to metal end (with locking screw) should be as free as possible (the other end is an aluminium stud running in a delrin sleeve and as said before the trip pawls rattly on the main cam.
In disassembling the tonearm last night, I discovered someone's been in there previously and overtightened the pivot screw for the horizontal bearing. I have have an old Astatic 133 ceramic cart installed for testing and it seemed to have no trouble tracking at 2g (indicated on the dial, not measured) including successfully playing the last cut on an LP and tripping the return cycle without skipping. The trip slider, thankfully, is completely free, and nobody's greased the delrin sleeve or anything silly like that. Lateral movement of the tonearm isn't great, but it isn't bad. My guess is this tonearm isn't as low friction as my other machines, and I shouldn't expect to balance it, dial up the anti-skating, and have the tonearm swing back to the rest post.
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Re: Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

Postby amagasakii » 17 Jan 2018 22:03

A70BBen wrote:Garrard changed their recommendation on lubricating the slot in the friction link. At first, in the Autoslim and AT6 service manual they recommended grease. In that for the SP25 Mk III, a light wipe of oil is recommended.
I'll use oil-- very lightweight sewing machine oil, I assume.
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Re: Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

Postby amagasakii » 18 Jan 2018 06:03

Skip to the bottom if you just want me to get to the point. [-o<

Two steps forwards, half a stumble back: I briefly silenced the noise from the idler wheel by cleaning the driving face. I then cleaned the driving face of the motor pulley and reintroduced the noise. :roll:

Despite this, I'm pretty happy with how things are working now, especially the top side, despite the bit of wobble in the cam post. I do want to do a bit of a teardown of the linkages underneath, so I'm hoping someone can tell me how intricate the mechanism is.

I can't find a full service manual for the SL-65B, so I've resorted to making a mental diagram combining the parts of the SP-25 Mk III and the 3500. (For example, the SP-25 has a long "cam spring" that connects the pickup cam to the spindle; the 3500 has a "return spring" that seems to perform the same purpose, but is self-contained on the pickup cam.)

SP-25 cam spring
40099

3500 return spring (120)
40101

How far can I comfortably tear this mechanism down before I pull something off and a spring goes "poiiiiiiing" and disappears for good?
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Re: Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

Postby Spinner45 » 18 Jan 2018 06:29

amagasakii wrote:
How far can I comfortably tear this mechanism down before I pull something off and a spring goes "poiiiiiiing" and disappears for good?


Record changers require, no, insist on having serving done properly and carefully.
It's an "art", only gotten through experience and know-how.
Obviously, they were not designed for the average consumer to diddle with, past simple lubrication and maintenance, even with the advent of the internet and its hoardes of self-proclaimed "teachers".
These machines are built with each and every part, no matter how small, to have a function critical for proper operation.
There are no "options" to this, unfortunately.
If careless servicing is employed and springs and "c" clips start flying, then you're not "fit" to do the work, right?
You'll wind up with a pile of junk, and type endless threads about it.
Even the internet cannot straighten out wrongs done across the globe, particularly if a part is incorrectly installed, or replaced by something else.
Because then all known diagnosis methods are moot points.
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Re: Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

Postby DSJR » 18 Jan 2018 11:14

You'll be ok as unlike Duals, you don't have the tiniest little wire acting as a spring which flies away forever when one particular part on the cam is dismantled.

Just take plenty of pictures as you proceed.

The Autoslim tonearm bearings were stiffly spring loaded needle-ball types in the vertical pivots and a kind of C shaped bracket with ball+spring loaded shafts top and bottom running in sleeves (please excuse my lack of proper terminology here). These were greased well so it'll be 'drag' you feel, more than high friction I think. Fine for 2g trackers though and the ubiquitous AT91/Rega Carbon would make for a great cheap mm cartridge to fit that won't be so fussy of VTA errors in the arm - a period Goldring G800 but preferably with a decent modern stylus to get a better diamond on it should also be fine tracking at 2.5g. If you fitted a cartridge wedge as per the SP25 III to get the cartridge more parallel with a single record, I think you could easily use an AT95E - I did in a 25 III I recall.
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Re: Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

Postby amagasakii » 18 Jan 2018 19:40

DSJR wrote:You'll be ok as unlike Duals, you don't have the tiniest little wire acting as a spring which flies away forever when one particular part on the cam is dismantled.

Just take plenty of pictures as you proceed.

Ha! Thank you, that was the sort of disaster scenario I was picturing in my head-- remove the pickup cam only to have everything underneath it snap back to default positions by a half dozen different springs.

DSJR wrote:The Autoslim tonearm bearings were stiffly spring loaded needle-ball types in the vertical pivots and a kind of C shaped bracket with ball+spring loaded shafts top and bottom running in sleeves (please excuse my lack of proper terminology here). These were greased well so it'll be 'drag' you feel, more than high friction I think. Fine for 2g trackers though and the ubiquitous AT91/Rega Carbon would make for a great cheap mm cartridge to fit that won't be so fussy of VTA errors in the arm - a period Goldring G800 but preferably with a decent modern stylus to get a better diamond on it should also be fine tracking at 2.5g. If you fitted a cartridge wedge as per the SP25 III to get the cartridge more parallel with a single record, I think you could easily use an AT95E - I did in a 25 III I recall.
I currently have an AT91 on my Dual- I thought I'd replace that with an AT95E and put the AT91 on the Garrard. Cheap and cheerful! I'm also glad to know it's drag that I'm feeling in the bearings. Bit of a relube, fix the wiring on the cartridge sled, and hopefully this thing will be ready to go!
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Re: Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

Postby A70BBen » 19 Jan 2018 09:14

The pivot friction in the Autoslims could be made lower by decreasing the spring preload. Actually the friction in vertical motion is already good enough on the models such as yours, using the AT6 design with preloaded needlepoints in ball bearing races. No need to "fix."

On the cheaper models with the "wire in a hole" pivots, there is nothing that can be done other than lubrication.

Horizontal friction can be reduced by shortening the screw holding the tonearm to its bracket and polishing its flat end. But how much shortening is needed is "just enough to retain slight spring preload and not allow any free play." This varies due to production tolerance which is why the spring preloading was designed-in. If you shorten it too much, you will need a new screw, and Garrard is no longer in existence to supply a new one. So I do not recommend this procedure now. The friction link that moves the arm during the auto cycle contributes friction anyway so the effecr of reducing bearing friction is limited.

In the later, inferior Unimech chassis, Garrard found it necessary, in the units with "hi-fi" pretensions...the Model 70, 770, 775, 63SP...to remove the spring preload from the horizontal-motion bearing and make its endplay adjustable. The adjustment would then be sealed with threadlocking paint. This would depend on the skill, attitude and "feel" of the individual assembly worker. My own Garrard 775 was poorly adjusted, with too much friction; I had to clean off the threadlocking paint and readjust, myself.

AT91 should be a fine match to a Garrard SL65B.
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Re: Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

Postby DSJR » 19 Jan 2018 18:47

Quickie regarding cartridges...

As far as I know, there's the AT91 and the AT3600 which is slightly cheaper. My memories of the 3600 and it's direct OEM siblings was of a muffled sound and I grouped the AT91 accordingly for years. A few years ago, Rega began marketing a 'posh' version of the AT91 called the Carbon. This latter was tested and measured on the German 'Lowbeats' site and it did incredibly well I thought. I haven't compared the Carbon directly with a straight AT91, but I shouldn't think they're so different from each other. The AT95E has a semi-elliptical tip and a slightly different (outer) body, the stylus being affixed slightly differently so not compatible with the AT91. Where the Carbon majors in the upper bass to lower midrange, the 95E opens the window a little further into the upper midrange and possibly 'controls' the high frequencies a little better. I think you'd hear this on most Duals but to get anything worthwhile with the 65B, you'd need to use or make up a wedge as I've banged on about earlier, so the top of the cartridge is level when playing a single record. To be fair, the 95E isn't a critical model at all and please forgive my audiophool sensibilities coming through. A conical tip isn't anything like as fussy.

If you wanted to try an elliptical stylus in the AT91 body, Wm Thakker do a Dual DN251E replacement and mine came with a good well finished diamond and a good smooth if restrained sound tracking at a smidge under 2g.

The 65B tonearm bearings should be just fine as-is as long as the friction link is attended to and the trip parts are smooth and not slugged with lubricant. Apologies if I take it too far. Garrard didn't recommend less than 2g tracking in these chassis until the very late belt driven ones with S shaped tonearms (125SB in the UK) and I think this one could go down to 1.5g as the bearings in both planes had been tweaked a little...
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Re: Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

Postby amagasakii » 20 Jan 2018 10:57

A70BBen wrote:The pivot friction in the Autoslims could be made lower by decreasing the spring preload. Actually the friction in vertical motion is already good enough on the models such as yours, using the AT6 design with preloaded needlepoints in ball bearing races. No need to "fix."

I have no plans to ever attempt to fix the vertical bearings, since I'd only make them worse. I'm honestly impressed at how well the tone arm passes the "stamp test".

A70BBen wrote:If you shorten it too much, you will need a new screw, and Garrard is no longer in existence to supply a new one. So I do not recommend this procedure now.

I don't know if you intended for this to be funny, but it made me laugh! And to think that I just sent away a SASE enclosed with 50¢ to Garrard for their newest catalogue. Guess I can stop waiting by the mailbox for it to arrive.

A70BBen wrote:My own Garrard 775 was poorly adjusted, with too much friction; I had to clean off the threadlocking paint and readjust, myself.

This is why I'm enjoying owning and working on a Garrard. Was it built on a Wednesday or a Friday? It's like owning a GM or BMC car in the '70s. Sure, a Japanese one was more reliable, but then what are you going to spend your time doing in the garage on a Saturday?
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Re: Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

Postby DSJR » 20 Jan 2018 16:54

Apologies, I don't get what I hope is humour in the post above.

They weren't *that* bad (well, my AP76 was, but although it was claimed to be brand new, the box was open on receipt - someone bought it for me*)

* back in the early to mid 70's, discount houses ruled for goods like this. One or two used to keep not-good samples aside for when regular stock ran out, as when the bad-un was returned, these houses usually had good fresh replacements available...

My current AP76 is much better made and finished, screw heads around the tonearm 'gimbal style' housing are clean and the platter is far more 'true' up and down as well, as is the Zero 100 I have. It sounds great despite the flimsy tonearm, easily tracking an AT120E at 1.4g.
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Re: Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

Postby A70BBen » 21 Jan 2018 20:38

amagasakii wrote:
A70BBen wrote:If you shorten it (the horizontal-motion pivot screw) too much, you will need a new screw, and Garrard is no longer in existence to supply a new one. So I do not recommend this procedure now.


I don't know if you intended for this to be funny, but it made me laugh! And to think that I just sent away a SASE enclosed with 50¢ to Garrard for their newest catalogue. Guess I can stop waiting by the mailbox for it to arrive.

A70BBen wrote:My own Garrard 775 was poorly adjusted, with too much friction; I had to clean off the threadlocking paint and readjust, myself.

This is why I'm enjoying owning and working on a Garrard. Was it built on a Wednesday or a Friday? It's like owning a GM or BMC car in the '70s. Sure, a Japanese one was more reliable, but then what are you going to spend your time doing in the garage on a Saturday?


My uncle bought a Jaguar XJ6 when they were brand new. Sleek, comfortable, rode and handled like a fine saloon should. He always suspected, though, that the air conditioner wasn't working. Like London, San Francisco is a place where air conditioning is normally not necessary, so when he reported his suspicion to the dealer, it was always cool and he accepted the explanation that "it's working, but it's not as powerful a design as in an American car. But we added a squirt of Freon to it anyway."

His next car, some years later, was not a Jaguar. He kept the XJ6, though, because he liked its comfortable interior and warm ambience more than the Bavarian marque he bought next (and that car turned out to be a reliability migraine anyway). The German car, with air conditioning almost as powerful as in the Dodge his wife used, was driven to his country home in summer. Finally he gave the Jaguar to his brother, who was planning to replace the Jaguar six-cylinder engine and sluggish Borg-Warner automatic transmission with a Chevrolet 350 ci. V8 and Turbo Hydramatic (there are excellent conversion kits for doing this). When it was all done, the Jaguar was transformed, with more power, a quick-shifting transmission; and with less weight on the front wheels, better handling than ever.

AND THE AIR CONDITIONING WORKED! Turned out it had never worked from brand new because apparently at the factory, something had struck its compressor and knocked a hole in it. The system was thus unable to hold any Freon refrigerant at all. A new GM compressor that came with the new engine was the final "fix."

END OF THREAD DRIFT!
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Re: Thrift store SL-65B -- Initial questions

Postby amagasakii » 22 Jan 2018 10:55

DSJR wrote:Apologies, I don't get what I hope is humour in the post above.

They weren't *that* bad (well, my AP76 was, but although it was claimed to be brand new, the box was open on receipt - someone bought it for me*)

* back in the early to mid 70's, discount houses ruled for goods like this. One or two used to keep not-good samples aside for when regular stock ran out, as when the bad-un was returned, these houses usually had good fresh replacements available...

My current AP76 is much better made and finished, screw heads around the tonearm 'gimbal style' housing are clean and the platter is far more 'true' up and down as well, as is the Zero 100 I have. It sounds great despite the flimsy tonearm, easily tracking an AT120E at 1.4g.

I'm just teasing, I promise; I didn't mean to offend! If I thought Garrard made junk, I'd say it (and I wouldn't have bought this one in the first place.)

As far as I can tell, fancy Garrards are quite the rarity here. It was either all-in-ones with 1025/2025s, or you bought a separate Dual/PE/ELAC from the hifi shop. Then the '70s rolled around and your only choice was a Pioneer PL-12D, or you watched the old guard duke it out.

I tease because I love. It's fun to work on this Garrard; I've bonded with it. But it's still funny how loudly the OFF/MANUAL/AUTO goes "THWACK!" when it shuts off.
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